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Getting help against an abusive partner

Our People - Peter Bushell
30 April, 2021

If you are suffering from domestic abuse from an ex-partner, it is extremely important that you seek out help. The Family Courts are able to provide victims of domestic abuse with protective ‘injunction’ orders.

There are two main types of protective orders that the court can provide, Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders.

1)      Non-Molestation Orders

A Non-Molestation Order seeks to prevent your ex-partner from harming or threatening to harm you. An order can be applied ‘without notice’ (i.e. without the ex-partner being able to argue against the order being made) if the circumstances are serious enough. This means your ex-partner will not be told about your request to the courts for an order. An order is then granted by the court and then your ex-partner is then told about the order after it has been made. This means you will have a protective order before your ex-partner is aware you have asked the court one.

‘Zonal Orders’ can be made meaning your ex-partner cannot come within 200 metres of where you are staying for example, or attend your address or any other address you may be residing in. The order can also be made to protect your children as well provided they are under 18 years old.

Breaching an Non-molestation Order is a criminal offence. If you have a Non-molestation Order in place and you think that your ex-partner has breached its terms, you should call the police and they will have a power of arrest.

2)      An Occupation Order

If you are still living with your ex-partner, or have left the property and wish to return to live there, then you would need to apply to the court for an Occupation Order. This is an order that decides who may occupy a property. If an Occupation Order is made ordering your ex-partner to leave the property, you can then safely return to live there.

Whereas breaching a Non-molestation Order is a criminal offence, breaching an Occupation Order is not. You, therefore, need to ask the court to attach a power of arrest to any breach of the Order’s terms.

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal aid is available for applying to the court for an injunction. This means your lawyers fees will be paid by the Legal Aid Agency. Whether you qualify for legal aid or not will depend on your ‘means’, which is the level of your assets and income.

If you are suffering from domestic abuse of any kind, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us. We would be able to talk to you about your options and the process of obtaining legal aid. Any information given to us would be strictly confidential.

Please feel free to call the office on 020 8492 2290 to speak to someone in the Family Team. Alternatively, you can email

Peter Bushell specialises in Family Law, including divorce, children matters and resolving financial disputes in the context of divorce proceedings.

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